Arthur Ernest Mullord
19 September 1910
|Died||11 December 1995 (aged 85)|
|Spouse(s)||Florence Rose (1939 -1961) (her death)|
Following military service and a brief boxing career, Mullard found work as a cockney character actor in film and TV comedy, notably in the series Romany Jones. Soon after his death, it was alleged that he had committed acts of extreme domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Mullard was born in a humble background in Islington, London. He started work at the age of 14 as a butcher's assistant, and joined the Army at 18. It was there that he began boxing, becoming champion of his regiment. When he left the army after three years, he had a short stint at boxing professionally. This ended after 20 fights over three years, following a knock-out from which he lost his memory. He married Florence Rose in the second quarter of 1939. He is recorded in the 1939 Register as a general labourer living with his parents at 35 Douglas Street, Islington. He rejoined the army in the Second World War, becoming a Warrant Officer (sergeant major) in the Royal Artillery.
Following the end of the war in 1945, Mullard sought work as a stuntman at Pinewood and Ealing film studios, from which he drifted into uncredited bit-parts in British films such as Oliver Twist (1948), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955).
Mullard's face and cockney accent lent itself to a certain character, and he graduated to more visible roles in comedy films and on television. It was on television that Mullard made a name for himself, first as a straight man for Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd and Benny Hill, then in The Arthur Askey Show. It was the London Weekend Television series Romany Jones, first aired in 1973, which give Mullard his highest profile, playing Wally Briggs, a crafty caravan-dweller. Popular in its time, the show did not find critical favour and has subsequently been named as one of the worst British sitcoms ever made.
So popular was Mullard's character that a sequel, Yus, My Dear, was broadcast in 1976, in which Wally and his wife Lily (Queenie Watts) had moved out of their caravan into a council house. The series gained modest ratings, though it too received critical broadsides as one of Britain's worst-ever sitcoms.
Mullard (or "Arfur" as he was widely known) was regularly a guest in other programmes and television commercials. He and Watts also reprised their roles of Wally and Lily appearing in the film Holiday on the Buses (1973), the last feature-length version of the popular On the Buses comedy series of the time.
Mullard also appeared in Ladies Who Do (1963), Morgan! (1966), The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978). In 1986, invited by producer Victor Lewis-Smith, Mullard hosted an edition of Midweek on BBC Radio 4 to replace regular host Libby Purves during her temporary absence.
In 1967, Mullard recorded "I Love You, You Love Me"/"Was It Something I Said" on the Masquerade label (MA5001). This was followed the same year by an album Arthur Mullard of London (MQ 2003) The LP included Mullard's cover of the Beatles' "Yesterday", jokes and philosophy. More singles followed in the 1970s, including 1974's "Not Now Arthur"/"If I Only Had My Time Again" (BASFBA 1012), and in 1975 "I Only Have Eyes for You"/"One 'Fing 'N' Annuver" (RCA 2610) with "Yus My Dear"/"Arthur" (RCA Z639A) released in 1976.
He entered the UK Singles Chart in 1978 with his cover of "You're the One That I Want" (Pye 7N 46121) (from the film, Grease) with Hylda Baker, who was in her seventies. The single, which peaked at Number 22 in the UK, was taken from the album, Band On The Trot (Pye PKL 5576). The single was the last professional success of Mullard's life; there followed an uncredited narration on the Glenn Close-led live action 101 Dalmatians, released in 1996 after his death.
In 1996, after Mullard's death, the Sunday Mirror reported that a This Is Your Life special about Mullard was planned, until it was cancelled after producers contacted his eldest son and discovered Mullard's history of extreme domestic violence, and years of sexual abuse against his daughter, starting when she was 13.
His wife Florence died of an overdose of sleeping tablets in 1961 after suffering from poor physical and mental health. Her death was said by her daughter to be partly the result of the extreme physical and mental violence Mullard perpetrated against her. Mullard continued to live in a council house in Islington after his success, and spent much of his free time socialising in local pubs. He died in his sleep on 11 December 1995, aged 85. Despite his alleged acts of child sexual abuse against her, his daughter nursed him in his dotage. He left her and one of her brothers £5,000 each; he left £250,000 to a children's home.
He wrote an autobiography, Oh, Yus, It's Arthur Mullard.
- To the Public Danger (1948)
- The Story of Shirley Yorke (1948)
- Four Men in Prison (1950)
- There Is Another Sun (1951)
- The Long Memory (1952)
- Twilight Women (1952)
- The Long Haul (1957)
- The Bank Raiders (1958)
- Two-Way Stretch (1960)
- And the Same to You (1960)
- Crooks Anonymous (1962)
- Postman's Knock (1962)
- Band of Thieves (1962) - Getaway
- The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) - Chief Borstal Officer (uncredited)
- The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963) - Brassknuckles
- Sparrows Can't Sing (1963) - Ted
- Heavens Above! (1963) - Cast Member (uncredited)
- Ladies Who Do (1963) - Mr. Merryweather
- Father Came Too! (1964) - Traffic Warden
- The Counterfeit Constable (1964) - Le malfaiteur
- Gonks Go Beat (1965) - Drum Master
- Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) - Wally
- The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966) - Big Jim
- Cuckoo Patrol (1967) - Yossle
- Smashing Time (1967) - Cafe Boss
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - Big Man
- Lock Up Your Daughters (1969) - Night Watchman
- Crooks and Coronets (1969) - Perce
- On the Buses (1971) - (uncredited)
- Steptoe and Son (1972) - (uncredited)
- The Vault of Horror (1973) - Gravedigger (segment 4 "Bargain in Death")
- Holiday on the Buses (1973) - Wally Briggs
- Three for All (1975) - Ben
- Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978) - Blackie
- 101 Dalmatians (1996) - (voice, uncredited)
- Arthur Mullard (Obituary), The Times, 13 December 1995.
- His obituary in The Times gives his date of birth as 10 November 1910 but conflicts with the birthdate given in his death registration. His year of birth appears as 1908, 1910, 1912 and 1913 in various sources. However online records at  show that the birth of an Arthur E Mullord was registered in Islington in October–December 1910, which is probably him.
- Date of birth of 19 September 1910 confirmed from 1939 Register.
- GRO Register of Deaths: Arthur Ernest Mullard died December 1995 B32 136 ISLINGTON. DoB = 19 September 1910 Age 85 approx
- GRO Register of marriages
- 1939 Register entry
- "Obituaries: Arthur Mullard". The Independent. 13 December 1995.
- Wainwright, Martin (30 September 2003). "Bilko named best ever comedy". The Guardian.
- "Obituary: Mike Reid". The Times. 31 July 2007.
- "iPM". BBC Programme Library. 3 September 2011.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
- "Arthur Mullard was the Cockney Comic Millions Loved ...and a Monster who Raped his Daughter at 13". Sunday Mirror. 12 May 1996. Retrieved 2012-05-02.